Your home is your most valuable asset and you should do whatever you can to safeguard it against anything that will affect its value. There are many different elements such as water damage or fire that can affect the structural integrity of your home. These are generally very easy to identify but the damage done by pests such as rodents and insects can be hard to notice until it’s too late.
What are the most damaging pests in Australia?
The most destructive type of pest in Australian homes is the termite. Also known as ‘white ants’, termites love to eat the wooden parts of your home. There’s a reason why termite inspections are an essential pre-purchase process when buying a new home. The damage they cause can be incredibly expensive to fix, especially upon load-bearing frames, which can affect the structural integrity of the whole building.
Termites won’t usually be noticed until it’s too late as they will be in your walls or under your floors and can only be noticed once the wood or plaster starts showing signs of damage. What makes it harder to notice is that termites are careful not to eat all the way through surfaces like walls, as they need the outer layer to remain intact to keep them safe from external elements.
According to The Victorian Building Authority ‘Termites cause more damage to Australian homes than fire, floods and storms combined – and it is damage not covered by household insurance.’ This means termite damage can be very expensive to repair and will leave you out of pocket. There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of termites in your home.
If you live in an existing home
You can look yourself by looking for the tell-tale signs of a termite infestation. This includes examining for:
● Small holes and look for sawdust-like dust deposits on wooden parts of the house.
● Wormlike mud tunnels on the walls of your home.
● Bubbled or cracked paint.
● Hollow sounding walls that should be solid.
If you have been living in your current home for a long time, it is worth getting a professional to come to your home and inspect for termites. If they find anything, they can treat it early and reduce the cost of extensive structural repairs.
You can reduce the risk of damage in an existing home by filling in any holes that they might be able to enter the home through. You can also treat the ground around your home with termiticide. You should also remove any unnecessary wood from around the foundation of your home as this can attract termites and lead them into the house.
If you have previously had an infestation and an exterminator has cleared it, you will need to get them to return each year for an inspection to ensure that the termites have not returned.
If you are building a new home or adding an extension
The Victorian Building Authority also recommends using materials like termite resistant timber or steel frames rather than the cheaper woods that are more commonly used. It is also recommended to build on a solid concrete slab, which is the standard for most modern homes.
There are also ways you can pre-treat your home for termites before the house starts building. This includes creating a termite barrier with termiticide.
With all this in mind, you should be able to avoid the costly disasters that can be a termite infestation. Get your home inspected for termites annually to ensure any termites are dealt with before the damage gets too great.